Archive for Rated PG-13

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PodCastle 614: White Noon

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


White Noon

By Aidan Doyle

The dogs’ barking let me know I had visitors. I reluctantly left my chair by the fire, pulled on my boots, and took my thundergun from its place on the wall. I rarely had any visitors apart from Magnus, which was how the dogs and I liked it.

When I opened the cabin door, the sun’s brightness made me squint. The sky was bluer than a husky’s eyes. Most folks enjoyed summer’s months of continual sunlight, but I preferred the peace of winter’s darkness. Nobody but a lover expects things of you when it’s dark.

I walked across the crisp snow, my breath appearing as a mist in front of me. A ten-dog team pulling a sled with two people in it drew to a halt outside my cabin. The two figures stepped off the sled, one of them crouching down to check the dogs and the other striding towards me. I recognized Kristin’s loping gait before I could make out her face. She always looked as though she was in a hurry to reach tomorrow. It had been years since I’d seen my sisters.

Kristin wore a heavy coat with wanted posters stitched onto it. All of the villains had their faces crossed out. A pair of silver thunderguns rested in holsters by her side.

“It’s a fine day for sledding,” Kristin said. Her tone suggested that only the most inglorious of cowards would disagree.

“Fine day for staying warm,” I replied. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 612: She Searches for God in the Storm Within

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


She Searches for God in the Storm Within

By Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

When I arrived at my grandmother’s, in the stillness of predawn, like some restless cat stalking, she was waiting for me on the front porch. It was as if she’d been expecting me. I suppose if she had been watching the sky, she was, because I could be seen for miles. My scarf had come unwrapped and my hair had unfurled into a roiling trail of luminescent heaped up clouds threatening to burst.

The air was thick with the metallic scent of rain and sweet jasmine. I stopped just inside the gate when I caught sight of my grandmother, chest heaving, trying with great difficulty to thin my lowering nimbus into one more presentable. All the excuses I’d contrived for why I was coming to her home at this unseemly hour, after all these years away from home, dissolved.

I did not need them. She would not judge me. She would welcome me home. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 609: The Epic of Sakina — Part 2

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


The Epic of Sakina

By Shari Paul

[Note: This is part 2 of a two-part novelette. Visit our previous post to read Part 1.]

The ride back to her father’s house had never felt so long, doubly so under Naima’s interrogation. Sometime during the wait for Sakina’s return at the barracks, Naima had spoken to a few of the guards and decided that Leif was a djinn. It was a welcome distraction, as she teased her friend and gave her only the vaguest answers. This was not something she could share, and once Naima realised this, she changed tack anyway, instead telling Sakina about the business at her store.

Sakina went straight to the library when she was back at the house, ancestors whispering in her ear. It was time she started a record of this. As she sank into her chair though, someone knocked at the door.

She looked up and a shiver coursed her spine like lightning. It was the alim. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 608: The Epic of Sakina — Part 1

Show Notes

Rated PG-13.


The Epic of Sakina

By Shari Paul

The moon was a pale, golden disc in a lavender sky. Sakina, in a brilliant blue caftan that brought out the colour in her skin and eyes, strummed her kora a few times to check the tuning. At her ear, an ancestor whispered, “He is quite brazen to be out here when the moon is full…or powerful enough to resist it.”

Sakina looked over at the tall, thin man sinking into one of the dougou-tigui’s fine silk cushions. Asif the alim looked as if a stiff breeze would knock him over, the skin stretched tight over his bones. Naima had called him a ghoul and Sakina agreed. He noticed her stare, smiled, and said, “Of all the djeli I have met in my travels, you are by far the most captivating.”

There were a few titters from the assembled guests, wealthy merchants, fellow djeli, and the imam of the Cunapo Mosque. Their host, the dougou-tigui Hussain, coughed lightly, embarrassed, and said, “My nephew, Farouk, certainly thought so. He could not have found a more beautiful wife.”

“Yes, yes,” said Asif, still smiling at Sakina. “And then he left her to go travelling with your maghan. If I had found a wife as lovely, my journeys would end.”

“They are young, they think they can do whatever they like,” said Hussain with a chuckle, jiggling two of his three jowls.

Sprawled beside Asif, surrounded by trays of fruit and starches and spiced teas, the dougou-tigui was the larger of the two but he sat considerably higher. The ancestor continued at Sakina’s ear, “See how the mass he does not show nevertheless affects the environment around him? The beast he becomes must be strong.” (Continue Reading…)